All posts by lisaweisman

About lisaweisman

I live in Portland Oregon, I started this blog when we began the process of adopting our daughter from Ethiopia. She came home July 2, 2011. Now it's just a blog.

Thanksgivemukah, Gratitude from Near and Far

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Our fist year of a family of three I had a holiday crisis of sorts. We were making a huge deal over Davy’s first Christmas but less so of Davy’s first Hanukah. It was really more of a crisis about how you raise your child, born in Africa in a culturally Jewish/Non Jewish home. I have a friend from high school who is gifted with spiritually and wisdom. She is an adult adoptee and practicing Jew and really (HINT) should consider becoming a Rabbi. If she was my Rabbi I would go to synagogue. Fact. Read her blog. You will want her to be your rabbi too, even if you aren’t Jewish.

She told me to calm down. That we get to make the rules. We get to say what is Jewish and how we want to bring that into our home. That I need to let go of my preconceived notions and baggage of my semi-religious upbringing. To let go. To make new traditions. Davy will love what ever we do. That year my mom found the worlds greatest kid menorah. It has children from around the world, and even includes Ethiopia.

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This year Hanukah fell on Thanksgiving and two weeks after Davy’s third birthday. I really didn’t want to do MORE gifts. The kid has toys coming out of her ears and frankly, it felt disingenuous to just throw more stuff at her. So we kept it simple. We just lit the menorah and said the prayers. You know what? It was magical. Davy tentatively says the prayers with me. She got to pick the candles and the “guys” she gets to lit. She always chooses the Ethiopian guy. She loves looking at her Menorah. The one that her Baba gave her. It makes me happy. For years I felt so conflicted about my upbringing. We are keeping it simple and she loves it. Thank you my Leslie for releasing me of my weird childhood version of Judism and giving me the notion that we can just do it the way we want to. Really. Thank you.

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Another wonderfully unexpected thing that has happened this year is that my friend Courtney has giving me a very special gift for Hanukah. She has given me 8 days of wishes via text message. It’s funny and sweet and random and kind and I love getting it everyday. I will be sad when it ends because I really do cherish them. It’s like an afermation that comes all the way from Southwest Portland. Thank you a million and one times Courtney. They make me laugh and feel loved. I can’t wait for Davy is old enough to appreciate 8 days of text messages from her mother, because I plan on keeping this as a family tradition.
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So there you have it. A lil’ bit of Judism and lots of gratitude and TWO blog posts in 2 weeks. Happy season of gratitude.

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She is Three Now

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Last week Davy turned three. I always greet her birthday with much fun and anticipation but also sadness for her first family. I wonder if they are thinking about her at this time of the year. I think about what a three year old Davy in Ethiopia might be like versus the three year old I know. I wonder about nature vs nurture. I want to hug her birth family and be able to tell them that she is fine. More than fine, she is thriving, funny and feisty.

We do send a photo book every year back to them, so I know that they know this. I know that they get it. I know that it makes them happy. I just want to be with them to share the love of this little Dinkinesh, this amazing miracle.

So yeah, I always carry a little bit of bittersweetness around her birthday. I am the only one. Andy doesn’t really think about it that much. Davy shouldn’t ever have to feel any thing but sweetness on her birthday. I think its my job as her momma to carry her first family in my heart and to honor them.

This Davy at three: She is a joker and clown, she is feisty, smart, verbal, hilarious. She is prone to tiny fits of rage, she can remember everything and listens to every word we say, even if she doesn’t seem like she is paying attention. Her favorite time is night before bed when we have family time- it usually involves dancing with her clunky parents. She has no fear. Loves to swim, run, dance. She is friend to Beti, Abe, Zara, Amaya, Jackson, Jameson, Juniper, Max, Mezzy and Mavis. She has inherited my giant laugh. Her favorite food group is Gummy Bears. She is a true beauty who loves to shake the beads in her hair. She is a daddy’s girl all the way. He loves Moo Shu more than Bella (it’s okay, i think Moo loves HER more than Bella does). She loves school, Curious George, messy art, her books, and all of her “guys” that she sleeps with every night.

Davy Dinkinesh Beach. Three years ago you came into this world. Your spirit, humor and grit touches everyone who you meet. We love you beyond measure. Your first family loves you beyond measure. Happy birthday our love.

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Summer 2013

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I haven’t posted in a long time so here is the summer photo dump in no particular order.
We hung out with friends:
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We went to Oaks Park, the pool, the Zoo, Sauvie Island, Oxbow Park and raspberry picking.
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I turned 42 on July 22. We celebrated with friends and then a quiet dinner with family at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. I also decided i needed to be very blonde.IMG_9750IMG_9636IMG_9595

We started a messy art class that davy loves
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Andy got a “new” car that we all love
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Finally last year we celebrated Ethiopian New Year in Davy Beach style
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At the beginning of the summer Davy was still in her crib and not potty trained. Three months later she is in a bed and is (mostly) potty trained. We have seen her vocabulary explode, her physical self expand (she was never a daredevil but she is taking more physical risks). She turns three in November. It’s hard to believe how much three months can change someone. This little girl of ours is turning into such a little exuberant confident little woman. It’s really astounding.

730 Days Ago

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We were in Ethiopia. A nanny handed us a baby. I was so nervous that I hardly noticed it wasn’t our daughter. Then I laughed and laughed and handed the correct baby to the woman from Texas. I waited patiently for the nanny to bring out our daughter.

729 Days ago I wasn’t a mother. Legally yes, but did i feel like a mother? No. Not until they handed her to us. It was only then that I could feel the ease and burden of the adoption process lift from our shoulders. Not until we could bring her home. Not until we could raise her.

Today, 730 days later it feels so normal. It feels like she has been with us forever. She is SO our kid. She is funny, smart, highly verbal. She is a peanut who can stand up for herself. Today she dropped something and said “oh damn it”. For better or worse she is a mini me. Yesterday I bonked my head on the end of a table when I went to pick something up. She said “mommy come here” and kissed my booboo.

She is a total Daddy’s girl, and although I am funny, it’s Andy that gives her fits of giggles.

She knows that she is adopted and that she was born in Africa “theopia” as she calls it. She knows she has family there and they love her very much. She knows that she has family here who love her and love her family in Ethiopia very much.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having the usual litany of maternal complaints. She is very very very 2 1/2 and that comes with the temper tantrums, the fits of running away, the dumping water out of the bathtub. We wanted, longed and fought for her so much, that it might seem like I am not appreciating her. Actually that’s not true. I am a complainer by nature. I actually appreciate the normalcy that comes with two years home. She is not a fragile porcelain doll or a figment of my imagination. She is real, whole, independent, frustrating, strong and mighty. She is our girl. She 100% us, mixed with the mystery of her first family.

Her Ethiopian name Dinkinesh means “miraculous and amazing”. Even though her first parent knew her for such a short time, the name couldn’t be more fitting. She is truly amazing. Truly truly a miracle.

Happy familversary to us.

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Feeling Optimistic

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Most days I feel pretty ambivalent about my country. Ambivalence is one of my curses. I also recognized that getting to feel ambivalence is one of our freedoms.

Today, when the DOMA act got voted down, I felt a personal victory. There are many many people in our lives that this directly impacts. It feels pretty spectacular to raise a child who will never have a memory of the kind of discrimination that so many of our friends and family have felt.

Also Davy will never know a time when she can’t marry the person she loves. Hurray for us.

Hey Call Jude

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So I have a friend name Jude. Everyone should have a friend named Jude. She is my BFFs sister. I have known her for 20 years. Jude is a family psychotherapist who also happens to be a parent coach. I am so grateful that Jude is in our lives. When we are stumped we call Jude. When Davy just came home and I had no idea what the heck I was doing. We called Jude. Davy was not sleeping. We called Jude. Davy was hitting. Called Jude. Davy started jumping out of her crib. We called Jude.

Do I think every single person on the planet can benefit from a parenting coach? Yup.
I am not one that likes to use blanket statements about how other people parent. Sometimes I just think that you need someone outside of you who can help you through a problem. She has the key to toddler and kids brains that us as laypeople don’t. I also happen to agree with her take on things. She is pragmatic, funny, kind and an amazing listener. She has also parented a pretty spectacular kid herself, if her kid was insane- I would worry. She knows us really well but hasn’t met Davy. The other day I called because of Davy’s recent spat of taking off running down the street. She said. “Well Dave’s a woman on a mission, we just don’t know what yet. Once we figure it out we will help her get there.” Perfect. In the mean time, her suggestions of getting davy not to run “the silent treatment for short periods of time” have worked. Davy gets it that momma is upset and mad that she runs. Now she pushes me, but well that’s another session.

Jude lives in DC. She does phone sessions. I have a friend who just had a baby. I gave her a few phone sessions as a gift and it has been great. Yes I am doing a shameless plug, but seriously if you are feeling freaked out, or overwhelmed. Just called Jude. You won’t regret it. You really wont.

Here is her info
www.judithwides.com

Courage

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We play the game on our Ipad called Endless Alphabet. It’s super cute. The letters are little monsters and Davy has to put them in the puzzle to spell the word. When she gets it- she gets a little video that defines the word.

The game defines courage as “When you have courage you are being brave even if you are a little scared.” This has really resonated with Davy. Whenever she does something a little scary – like climb to the top of the slide- she says “Look Mom. I have courage”.

You do sweet love. You really do.

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The Best Behaved Two-Year Old in the House

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I haven’t been blogging lately because I have been in a pretty dark place emotionally. Davy at two and a half is total hell on wheels. I mean what else would you expect from our bright and feisty girl. We have been ramping up or the “terrible twos” but now that I am officially in them. It’s like I am living with a giant succubus who is slowly eating away at my soul. Sounds a little dramatic. Well its been a crazy long day, so what’evs.

It’s actually not the tantrums, or the whining that is getting to me. It’s her total disregard for any authority that I may have over her. I find myself YELLING. I talk loud but I am not a yeller. It’s the way I say “Come on Davy” and she takes off running in the other direction. It’s the way she can now climb out of her crib (buh bye naps). It’s the way when we try any kind of basic discipline- she just laughs in my face. This is exhausting. I am totally worried that I am raising a tiny asshole. I know its a phase, I know she is normal- if not a little extra precocious. I know this precociousness will serve her very well in life. I know this is taking up so much of my emotional energy that it leaves little for other relationships, my marriage or any tasks that don’t give me immediate joy (like cleaning). There are lots of benefits to being an older parent, but energy level- its just not one of them.

So what do you do when you are emotionally overwhelmed and physically exhausted? When you are sleeping poorly and constantly dealing with a pooping and peeing, sassy toodler. Get another dog…..
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A few weeks ago I decideed it was time to get a canine pal for Miz Bella. Bella went through a period of deep mourning after Georgia died. She still howls with loneliness when we leave her alone. She has always been part of a duo and her saddens was breaking my heart.

Two weeks ago my friend Audra and her wife Loren came for a visit. Audra is a pet adoption specialist who works for the San Francisco SPCA was visiting and we had many discussions about what our future dog would look like. Andy has wanted a bulldog for years, I wanted a rescue Mutt. Must be mellow, easy, good with kids and other dogs. Last week Audra emailed me a photo and description of “Patsy” an American Bulldog mix. She is two. She was smiling with her funny teeth. Audra told me she is so good with other dogs that they use her as the dog that they train the more aggressive dogs with. She is mellow, not needy and has had a bunch of training. We knew she was our dog.
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SO we took a 50 hour trip to San Francisco to go get her. Davy for the record did the car trip like a champ. The rest- not-so much. We renamed the newest member of our family Moo Shu Pork Beach. She is everything we could hope fore. She is the sweetest, most easy-going dog we know. The best part Bella LOVES her. LOVED her immediately. So there you have it. Maybe Moo will turn into a pshchopathic ax murder when she is two and a half. Probably.

Bella’s face says it all
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